Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who are the pirates exactly?

[copied from BoingBoing, edited for brevity]

Adam the Alien has a Youtube channel that earns him money by inserting ads and giving him a cut of the money. Youtube's notorious Content ID system let big music publishers lay claim to Adam's video, on the basis that his rendition of "Silent Night" belonged to them, despite having been composed in 1818 and being firmly in the public domain. Once their claims had been laid, all the money his video generated was diverted to them.

The companies involved are the publishing arms of the world's biggest record labels -- BMG, Warner/Chappell, and Universal Music Publishing Group. They use an automated system to identify videos and claim them. There is no penalty for automatically generated claims over things that the publishers have nothing to do with. Their copyright bots are sloppy and operate with little or no human oversight.

It's a perfect storm of stupidity and greed: the big publishers have a platform that rewards fraudulent claims over indie creators' work; the publishers make plenty of such claims, all the while decrying piracy as the great evil of our day.

Adam the Alien's story.

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